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Effect of TBI on an IndividualThesis

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How Brain Injuries Impact One's Cognitive Ability Levels

How Brain Injuries Impact One's Cognitive Ability Levels

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has considerable impacts on the normal functioning or operation of the brain. In most cases, brain injuries damage the nerve cells to an extent that these cells no longer transmit information to each other in an ordinary manner. Brain injuries are usually divided into three major categories like mild, moderate and severe depending on the extent of neurological damage that takes place. Given their impact on neurological functioning, brain injuries have an impact on one's cognitive ability levels. Some of these impacts include cognitive disabilities, depressive symptoms, life satisfaction, and effect on life roles at different development stages and ages. Therefore, the extent of which brain injuries affect a person's cognitive ability levels is an important topic of study. Is there a direct link between brain injuries and how cognitive ability is impacted? How does the cognitive ability level decrease or is maintained due to the brain injury?

The purpose of this research is to examine the ability of an individual to gain, maintain or lose his/her cognitive ability levels depending on the severity of neurological damage from brain injury. This is an important issue to study to understand how different categories of brain injury affect cognitive ability levels of an individual. As a result, this study will provide insights on the impact of brain injuries on cognitive ability levels. In this case, the ability for an individual to carry out a cognitive function or assessment is examined against brain injuries like depression and post-traumatic stress (Massy, Meares, Batchelor & Byrant, 2015). The research strategy for this issue is an applied behavioral analysis that will focus on examining the level of individuals' cognitive abilities in the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury. For this study, the researcher will rely on the principle of learning theory to conduct a study of the behaviors of individuals undergoing an intensive intervention program after suffering a traumatic brain injury or other brain injuries.

Research has shown that brain injuries, notably severe or moderate Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), can be long-term or short-term. There are different variations in which people that have experienced TBI exhibit these conditions. For instance, the points of dimensions come with the severity of the initial injury, the completeness and the rate of healing, the nature, and types of the functions of affected by TBI (Gefvert, 2016). Thus, it is essential to know that the effects of brain damage are varied in the different people affected. The damage caused by brain damage, notably TBI, is dependent on some dimensions as stated earlier, meaning that most of the damages depend on how an individual responds to the injuries and their severity at any given time.

Literature Review

The cognitive function or cognitive abilities of an individual after a brain injury are an issue that has attracted considerable attention in recent years. This considerable attention has resulted in numerous studies that have been carried out to examine different aspects relating to this issue. Existing literature and studies on the impact of brain injury on levels of cognitive abilities and function have focused on various issues including cognitive disabilities, depressive symptoms, life satisfaction, and life's roles at different ages. The focus on these issues when examining the research topic is influenced by the fact that they are strongly related or directly linked to normal cognitive functioning.

Meyers, Chapman, Gunthert & Weissbrod (2016) conducted a study in which they examined the impact of masculinity on community reintegration after a traumatic brain injury among military veterans (p.14). The focus of these researchers was determining how TBI worsens the already difficult process of reintegration into the community by military veterans after deployment. They state that military veterans (who are mostly male) suffer unique cognitive and social deficits because of a traumatic brain injury. They carried out their study on the premise that military veterans have increasingly had trouble with reintegrating into the community after deployment. Their study found that a traumatic brain injury generates cognitive and social deficits that make it difficult for these individuals to reintegrate into the community effectively.

Based on this study, depression, pain, and post-traumatic stress were the most frequently observed effects of brain injury on the levels of cognitive abilities (Meyers, Chapman, Gunthert & Weissbrod, 2016, p.22)? Individuals who were observed in this study about their cognitive abilities showed signs of the intense need for focus and concentration because of the traumatic brain injury they suffered when in the battlefield. Given these observations, the researchers postulate that pain and psychological distress associated with a TBI affect an individual's cognitive function. Additionally, one's cognitive function becomes worse as the injury becomes more severe or traumatic. This implies that brain injuries affect one's cognitive ability levels through generating depression, pain, and post-traumatic depression that become severe depending on whether the injury is mild or severe. However, these effects are still evident during the initial stages of the brain injury. Military veterans who have experienced mild brain injuries have exhibited these effects as they struggle to maintain or enhance their levels of cognitive functioning or ability.

Massy, Meares, Batchelor & Bryant (2015) concur with Meyers, Chapman, Gunthert, & Weissbrod (2016) by stating that brain injury generates depression, pain, and other stressors that affect cognitive functioning. These researchers conducted research on the link between depression, pain and post-traumatic stress and cognitive functioning in mild brain injury (Massy, Meares, Batchelor & Bryant, 2015, p.530). This exploratory analysis was conducted on the premise that very few studies have been carried out to examine such relationship. For the study, the researchers explored how these effects were linked to carrying out a task requiring sustained attention or increasing cognitive demands. The study found that mild brain traumatic injury generates acute post-traumatic stress and pain, especially about tasks requiring increased cognitive demands or sustained attention. These findings confirm existing literature that traumatic brain injury affects cognitive ability levels through pain and post-traumatic stress.

McDonald et al., (2014) provide a different view of how brains injuries influence one's cognitive ability levels through examining cognitive elements behind poor expressive communication skills in the aftermath of a TBI (p.801). The research was conducted on the premise that effective communication and demonstrate executive control requires the ability to see things from someone else's viewpoint. While existing literature has shown that individuals with TBI have poor communication abilities, it is relatively unclear how this trend reflects the theory of mind or executive dysfunction. The researchers found that individuals with traumatic brain injury had difficulties inhibiting self-referential thoughts to accommodate another person's viewpoint when communication. Therefore, poor communication skills evident after a TBI are brought by difficulties in inhibiting self-referential thoughts because of the injury (McDonald et al., 2014, p.810). This implies that a traumatic brain injury affects cognitive ability levels through affecting self-referential thoughts that enable an individual to incorporate another's perspective for effective communication.

Juengst et al. (2015) examined how brain injuries affect one's cognitive ability levels through the paths of life satisfaction in the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury with a specific focus on age, depressive symptoms, life roles, and cognitive disability (p.353). The focus of the study was to identify life satisfaction paths following mild to severe traumatic brain injuries. The research found that a mild to severe traumatic brain injury causes loss of life roles and generates depression. These factors, in turn, contribute to low or declining life satisfaction, which is a major risk for individuals suffering from a traumatic brain injury. As a result, this study concurs with existing literature that brain injuries affect cognitive ability levels through generating prevalent depression. However, the authors' focus on examining life satisfaction across various influences and dimensions implies that the study offers a different perspective on how brain injuries affect a person's cognitive ability levels. In this case, the impact of brain injuries on cognitive ability levels is evidenced in low or decreasing levels of life satisfaction because of cognitive disability and depressive symptoms.

Methodology Description


Traumatic brain injury is a common problem in society that can have a wide range of different consequences for the patient that range from mild to severe. The presence of brain injuries in individuals and the potential for cognitive ability impairment has been popularized in the media recently because head impacts in National Football League (NFL) have been associated with many cognitive impairments later in life. This analysis will conduct a brief literature review to determine what research has been conducted in the field of neurology and related fields to identify evidence that has been published related to the long-term effects of repeated head impacts.

Target Population

Using a population of individuals involved in contact sports, such as football, represents a convenient sample to study brain injuries due to the higher prevalence of head impacts that… [END OF PREVIEW]

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